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Stink over toilet paper

by Emmanuel Joseph

toilet paperBarbadians could soon be facing a messy shortage of toilet tissue.

The Division of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Barbados TODAY was informed tonight, has started seizing imported toilet paper which it deems to be in breach of this country’s national standards.

However, one major retailer claimed that 99 per cent of all the brands coming into this island, do not meet the specified standards, and if this enforcement continues, the country could be without paper within another week or so.

The Division of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, sources reported, is demanding that the tissue must meet the requirement — 116 centimeters square and no fewer than 300 sheets for each roll.

Investigations revealed that suppliers have been given letters which state that those who went ahead and sold the paper in breach, would on summary conviction be fined $50,000 or three years in prison, or both.

Barbados TODAY has been reliably informed that ShopSmart was one of the first retailers whose toilet tissue was seized, with the latest being Carlton and A1 and PriceSmart.

“The Division of Commerce has [seized] two containers at PriceSmart, and I understand the company is looking to [take legal action]. I understand they also called for a meeting with the minister (of commerce) on the matter,” a leading business executive revealed.

“One major importer said it’s an attempt to have a major North American brand make paper to conform to Barbados’ standards, (and this) was met by laughter,” noted a prominent retailer.

Some wholesalers said they were caught in a “hard” position in that they want to sell the paper. Another supplier said most international brands want to save trees, and were therefore moving to manufacture smaller sheets of toilet paper. The officer in charge of specifications at the Barbados National Standards Institution, Fabian Scott, told this paper that the standard was a CARICOM one, which by agreement, became a Barbados standard.

“So everybody trading within the region has to adhere to the standard,” Scott said.

He said he believed that Barbadians were probably more concerned about the quality of the paper, such as if it would burst or if it was too hard. He noted though, that some of the importers were more concerned about buying the cheapest paper they could get.

When contacted, owner of Carlton and A1, Andrew Bynoe, said he would only comment tomorrow, since he had sent letters on the matter to the other sections of the press for publication tomorrow.

General Manager of PriceSmart, Terry Mahon, also said he would not comment until tomorrow.

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